Length of Course: 
16 Weeks
Total Lecture Hours: 
Total Lab Hours: 
Course Director(s):

Steven Driska, PhD, Associate Professor; Helen E. Pearson, PhD, Associate Professor


Upon successful completion of the neuroscience course, the student will:

  • Understand the development of the nervous system and how it relates to anatomy in the adult.
  • Understand the function of electrically excitable cells, the diversity, distribution and action of chemical synapses, the cellular basis of information transmission in the nervous system, and the function of simple neural circuits, particularly spinal reflexes.
  • Understand the principles of sensory transduction and the coding of sensory information in the nervous system.
  • Know the nervous pathways associated with sensory systems, including those conveying cutaneous, proprioceptive, and pain information, as well as the special senses of vision, olfaction, audition and balance, and understand the basic functioning of these systems.
  • Understand the physiology of muscle, and how the nervous system controls muscles to achieve desired movements, especially in relation to posture and gait.
  • Know the nervous pathways associated with motor systems, including organization of the spinal cord, descending pathways, the basal ganglia and the cerebellum, and understand the basic functioning of these systems.
  • Know the circuitry and understand the feedback pathways associated with nervous control of body homeostasis.
  • Understand the structural bases of arousal, higher cortical functions, memory and emotion.
  • Be familiar with hereditary, metabolic and mechanically induced pathologies, especially with respect to peripheral sensation and motor function.
  • Understand the structural bases of neurological examination, and develop an appreciation of the clinical tests used to evaluate nervous system function, especially for the lower extremity.


The nervous system serves as the site of integration of many functions of the body. The purpose of the neuroscience course is to familiarize students with both neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, especially in relation to normal and pathological function in the lower extremity. The course will help prepare students for courses in pharmacology, podiatric medicine, biomechanics and clinical neurology.